Velupillai Prabakaran, the elusive leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), is still hiding in the jungles in northern Sri Lanka, his former deputy told reporters in Colombo on Friday.
Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan alias Karuna, who now supports the government, says Prabakaran has not fled the island.
"It will be difficult for him (Prabakaran) to survive, now that the army is after him," he said, adding that the LTTE leader might be hiding in the jungles in the north.
Karuna had been Prabakaran's trusted commander in the Eastern Province before he broke away from the LTTE in 2004.
Speculation was rife that Prabakaran may have fled the northern Mullaithivu district by the sea route to a foreign country, after the rebels lost almost 95 per cent of the territory it formerly controlled in the region.
Prabakaran has been waging a separatist war since the mid-1980s to set up a separate homeland for the minority Tamil community, citing discrimination at the hands of Sinhalese dominated governments.